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The question

When pouring wine, how high should the level be?

The answer

If you're my waiter or bartender, fill it to the top, thank you. But seriously …

Serving size has been of mounting concern ever since the wine-obsessed world began moving away from rinky-dink glasses to the much bigger, more fashionable bowls you see everywhere. A standard wine pour is about five ounces, or 150 millilitres. So, if you want to be geeky and precise about it, grab a measuring cup, fill it with 150 millilitres of water and decant into your wine glass to gauge the correct level. Or, of course, try it with actual wine if you're short on water.

Many stemware makers today design glasses in such a way that the correct fill level corresponds with the bowl's widest circumference. This maximizes the liquid's surface area, helping to aerate the wine and amplify the pleasurable aroma. It also leaves plenty of air space to accommodate a vigorous swirl of the stem, which further intensifies the scent.

If you're still unsure based on the overall size or contour of your particular glasses, a good rule of thumb is to fill one-third of the way up. Never fill to the rim unless you're using informal tumblers designed for juice or whisky. Or unless you're my waiter.

The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol was recently named one of this season's Top 10 cookbooks in the United States by Publishers Weekly. Published by HarperCollins.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.